Move over, artificial intelligence. Scientists announce a new 'organoid intelligence' field

Dr. Thomas Hartung is pictured with brain organoids at his lab at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

(CNN)Computers powered by human brain cells may sound like science fiction, but a team of researchers in the United States believes such machines, part of a new field called "organoid intelligence," could shape the future — and now they have a plan to get there.

Organoids are lab-grown tissues that resemble organs. These three-dimensional structures, usually derived from stem cells, have been used in labs for nearly two decades, where scientists have been able to avoid harmful human or animal testing by experimenting on the stand-ins for kidneys, lungs and other organs.
Brain organoids don't actually resemble tiny versions of the human brain, but the pen dot-size cell cultures contain neurons that are capable of brainlike functions, forming a multitude of connections.
    Scientists call the phenomenon "intelligence in a dish."
      This magnified image shows a brain organoid produced in Hartung's lab. The culture was dyed to show neurons in magenta, cell nuclei in blue and other supporting cells in red and green.